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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Why Spending Time in Nature Helps the Addiction Recovery Process


spending time in nature helps the addiction recovery process


Each person’s recovery is unique. The tools they’ll need to stay substance-free will depend on their specific needs. However, a few commonly used tools are helpful for most people in their journey of recovery. These include physical exercise, group meetings, a healthy diet and spending time outdoors. 

It’s easy to overlook the importance of being in nature. Most of us become so busy with our daily lives that we forget to carve out time to maintain our physical and emotional health. People struggling with substance use disorder don’t have that luxury. Tending to their wellbeing is one of the most important things in their lives. 

Let’s look at why spending time outdoors is essential for the addiction recovery process.

Benefits of Spend Time Outdoors


People who don’t spend time outside report higher levels of stress and a greater number of health problems. That is true across all social spectrums. Regardless of where a person lives or how much money they make, being outdoors is helpful for everyone. 

Studies have found that spending time in green spaces reduces the risk of…
  • Type II diabetes, 
  • Cardiovascular disease, 
  • Premature death, 
  • Diastolic blood pressure, 
  • Heart rate,
  • Stress, and 
  • Levels of salivary cortisol -- a physiological marker of stress.
Spending time in nature increases sleep duration and results in higher reported levels of happiness. There are also byproducts of spending time outside that offer other perks. For example, people who spend time outside also tend to be more active, whether by walking, jogging or hiking. 

Impact of Being in Nature in Addiction Recovery


All the benefits listed above also help people in recovery. Spending time outside also aids addiction recovery by improving self-efficacy, the belief in one’s self to maintain behaviors necessary to achieve their goals. Being outdoors boosts a person’s mood. It is both invigorating and peaceful. 

So many of the tools people use to sustain their recovery are cultivated by being in nature. Reducing stress, boosting your mood and engaging in exercise are critical for a sustainable recovery. Making space in your routine to spend time in nature will provide exponential benefits for your mental, physical and spiritual health 

How to Make Nature Time Part of Your Routine


Though you don’t need to devote several hours a day outside to start reaping nature’s benefits, you should make it a priority to factor it into your weekly plan. A week-long vacation in which you spend a lot of time in nature isn’t enough to have a consistent impact on your health. However, spending just two hours a week in nature will reap physical and mental benefits. 

You can start by incorporating walks outside a couple times a week. It’s not necessary to go into the wilderness to be in nature. Instead, be mindful of finding green spaces - any place where there are plenty of trees, grass and sunlight. Beaches are another great location to spend time outside. Your own neighborhood or backyard might be the perfect place to start. You can also search for hiking trails in your area. 

As is the case with adding any new activities in your routine, convenience is key. Find an easy way to get outdoors and go for a walk. Once you make it a habit, you can then start finding more ways to venture outside for longer periods. 

At HAUS, Spending Time Outdoors Is Part of Our Approach


At HAUS, we know the importance of spending time in nature. It’s part of our approach to treating our clients’ physical, mental and spiritual needs. We offer a lush lawn, flowering shrubs and a lovingly tended vegetable garden. We also encourage our clients to make time in nature part of their normal routines. 

If you’d like to learn more about our addiction recovery services and programs, please contact our staff today. Call 888-551-4715 to speak with an admissions counselor and learn more about our beautiful California facility.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Making Negative Self-Talk More Positive

self-talk
If you’re like most people in recovery, you’re likely dealing with some negative chatter in your head. And it’s likely the worst when you’re alone or when you’re ruminating about something or when you face a challenge or setback in your recovery. Not all mind chatter is bad. It can motivate you to do better or move forward – like when your inner critic reminds you that what you’re about to drink or eat isn't healthy or what you’re about say or do may not be wise.

But negative self-talk can also pose a real hazard to your health, especially when it’s telling you that you’re not good enough or deserving enough. Any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make a positive change in your life can stunt your sobriety success.

Negative self-talk has been found to impact everything from your self-esteem to your energy to your mental health. It has also been linked to black-and-white thinking, perfectionism and depression – which can all be detrimental to your recovery.

How to Flip the Switch

It is possible to flip negative self-talk into positive thoughts – and you can start today. The next time that inner critic starts chattering, try asking yourself: Are these words helpful or encouraging? Am I being rational and reasonable? Is this something I’d say to my best friend? This is a great way to shift your self-talk and tame any negativity in your head.

Here are a few more ideas to try:
  • Recognize it. Now that you’re in recovery, you know too well that you can’t change a problem if you don’t recognize you have a problem. So, your first step is to pay attention to your inner critic. Take notice when you say things about yourself that you would never say to a friend or family member.
  • Remember feelings aren’t facts. Just because you’re thinking negatively about yourself, it doesn’t mean that those thoughts are true. Negative self-talk is subject to bias and it’s often influenced by your mood and/or challenges or setbacks you may be facing.
  • Give yourself a limit. Stopping your negative self-talk won’t happen overnight. Knowing this, it’s wise to put a limit on your inner critic. Allow yourself to be negative for no more than one hour per day.
  • Turn negativity into neutrality. It will likely be easier to catch your negative self-talk than to stop it in its tracks. This said, you can change its course by using gentler language. For example, “I can’t” becomes “This is challenging” or “I hate” becomes “It’s not my favorite” and so on.
  • Question your inner critic. Most often, self-talk is an exaggeration. Call yourself out and ask: Is this really true? Do I really believe this?
  • Say it out loud. Sometimes simply saying a negative thought aloud can help lessen its power and shine light on how ridiculous you sound. Other times, it can bring support. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, recovery peer or counselor about any of the negative thoughts standing in your way.
  • Replace it with something positive. This will take practice, by the next time you have a negative thought about yourself, replace it with something positive. This exercise is a great way to develop a more positive way of thinking about yourself and your new sober life.

A Positive Life With Deeper Purpose

At Haus Recovery, we help our clients stay confident as they master their full recovery potential. To learn more about our services and activities, call us today: 888-551-4715.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Decision-Making and Your Recovery

decision-making and your recovery
We make decisions every minute of the day: What time do I need to wake up? What should I eat for breakfast? Can I find time to exercise? What daily tasks should I focus on first? Will I allow traffic to stress me out?

During recovery, these seemingly simple choices can be overwhelming at times. This is because you’re still learning how to regulate your emotions and how to prevent them from fully driving your decisions.

Smart Tips for Smarter Decisions

Learning to make smart choices and decisions is crucial for preventing relapse and creating a fulfilling sober life – and these tips can help.

Weigh the pros and cons: While some choices can be made in a split-second, there are others that require greater contemplation. For these tougher decisions, try writing down the choice, plus the pros and cons. Consider keeping a journal so you can look back and see all of the decision-making progress you’ve made.

Consider the big picture: Maintaining sobriety often means making some tough choices – like parting ways with old friends or loved ones who could jeopardize your sobriety or who are toxic to your emotional well-being. But it also means making some great choices that will keep you feeling energized and motivated in your recovery. For example, should I take a new class or try a new support group? Either way, when making a choice, it’s best to consider the big picture. Ask yourself:
  • Will my choice support my recovery or put me at risk of relapse?
  • Will my choice make me a better person?
  • Will my choice help me maintain self-respect and dignity?
  • Will my choice make me smile and feel good about me?
  • Will my choice allow me to stay in control of my emotions and actions?
  • Will my choice align with my recovery goals?
Understand what it means to not decide: Making no decision at all is also a choice, and it can be a good thing when used correctly. Learning to make positive choices in recovery often requires stepping back to think through the steps before making a decision. Giving yourself this extra time can give you more control of your recovery and allow you to move in the right direction. Consider talking over these types of tough decisions with a trustworthy friend or loved one and then commit to making a good choice. 
 
Believe in the new sober you: A big part of making good choices is believing that you deserve good choices that can lead to better things in your life. This means learning to move past regret, focus on the present and believe in yourself and your abilities. While this won’t happen overnight, your self-confidence will grow each day as you remain sober. 

Post-Treatment Support for Men & Women

At Haus Recovery, we provide our clients with continued support as they transition from a secure recovery environment to a sober life filled with daily decisions, stress and tension. To learn more about our activities and services, call us today: 888-551-4715.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Luck of the Sober: Celebrating St. Patty's Day

They say everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but not everyone is as lucky as you to be sober!

For many people, St. Paddy’s Day has turned into an excuse to binge drink – and put their health at risk. Binge drinking has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, brain damage, STDs, alcohol poisoning, alcohol use disorder, violence and suicide. St. Patrick’s Day is also among the deadliest times to drive, thanks to all of the people who get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t even about drinking; it was meant to be a religious holiday honoring the patron saint of Ireland who chased the “snakes” (a symbol for paganism) out of Ireland. In fact, Irish pubs traditionally closed and the Irish attended church and celebrated their culture.

Still, we can’t deny that St. Patrick’s Day is a challenging holiday for the 23 million people in recovery. If you're in early recovery, your best bet is likely to avoid celebrations unless they are alcohol-free events. Or, if you have a few years of sobriety under your belt, bring along a trusted friend and have an escape plan if things get too overwhelming.

Celebrate the Sober Way!

Luckily, there are a ton of sober ways to celebrate your heritage this holiday. We’ve put together a few ideas; take a look and come up with your own ways to celebrate the luck of the Irish and the luck of the sober this St. Patty’s Day.
  • Start your day with a guilt-free shamrock shake. A bit of green goodness is a great way to wake up your body for the fun day ahead. Try this healthy spin: Blend banana, kale, vanilla yogurt, low-fat milk, mint leaves and ice – and top with a kiwi (for garnish).
  • Get outside and get active. Jog in a local 5K, organize your own run with a few sober buddies or grab a trusted friend and walk to a local parade. Another great way to burn some calories on St. Patty's Day is to go for a a nature hike – and search for a lucky four-leaf clover along the way! 
  • Host an Irish potluck. Team up with some sober pals and plan a feast of traditional Irish fare – from corned beef and cabbage to soda bread and shepherd’s pie. Not a fan of Irish food? Experiment with some green foods: spiraled zucchini with pesto, risotto with green veggies (asparagus, peas, spinach), crab-stuffed avocado, chicken with salsa verde or green curry, lime jello or chocolate chip mint frozen yogurt. 
  • Savor some downtime. Take the pressure off of yourself and stay home – and remind yourself that it’s okay to stay home. Invite over a trusted friend and cue up an Irish-themed movie like the critically-acclaimed Brooklyn or the campy horror film Leprechaun.
  • Go to a meeting – and dress the part. Put on your favorite green shirt and head to a nearby support group. There’s lots of temptation today – and surrounding yourself with recovery peers will go a long way in making sure this St. Patty’s Day is sober, healthy and enjoyable!

Relapse Prevention at Haus Recovery

Keeping relapse at bay is about cementing new habits and remaining accountable to the recovery support system – and we’re here to help. To learn more about our recovery residences, call today: 888-551-4725.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Managing Anxiety in the Workplace

workplace anxiety
Going back to work after recovery certainly has its own set of unique challenges – and, if you’re also suffering from anxiety, there’s yet another layer of stress.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health disorders in the U.S.; they impact nearly 40 million adults each year. What’s more, many people mistakenly turn to alcohol or drugs to relieve symptoms of anxiety – in reality, this will only worsen the mood disorder.

When it comes to managing anxiety in the workplace, there are a variety of problems that can occur, depending on your employment and the type of anxiety you’re battling. According to a national survey on anxiety in the workplace, people with anxiety disorders often struggle with the following:
  • Conflict
  • Setting and meeting deadlines
  • Maintaining personal relationships
  • Managing staff
  • Participating in meetings
  • Making presentations
Types of Anxiety at Work
Most people experience stress and anxiety in the workplace – and these mental health issues even share many of the same physical and emotional symptoms like uneasiness, tension, headaches, high blood pressure and loss of sleep. But these conditions are very different. In general, stress is a response to an external cue (a tight deadline at work or an argument with a coworker) while anxiety is internal and is typically characterized by a persistent feeling of “apprehension or dread” that doesn’t go away after the concern has passed.

There are many types of anxiety that can occur in the workplace. According to Psychology Today, the most common ones include: 
  • Performance anxiety: “Am I doing a good enough job?” This can cause you to worry about your job security and create a cycle where you’re constantly craving feedback – no matter how much you’re already getting.
  • Status anxiety: “Am I keeping up with my peer group?” Status anxiety can cause the unhealthy habit of comparing yourself to others. 
  • Social anxiety: “Do people like me?” This can cause a fear of being disliked and excluded, making meetings or presentations feel like impossible tasks.
Tips to Manage Anxiety at Work
If you’re dealing with a co-occurring substance use disorder and anxiety disorder, it’s important to keep up with your current treatment and recovery plan, attend regular support group meetings and practice healthy lifestyle habits. 

In addition, here are a few ways to better manage your anxiety so it doesn’t interfere with your accountability and success in the workplace:
  • Identify your anxiety triggers: Similar to addiction recovery, knowing your triggers is an important skill when it comes to dealing with anxiety in the workplace. Although anxiety can begin with no apparent cause, over time it is possible for many people to recognize the situations and actions that lead to feelings of anxiety and panic.
  • Listen to calming music: We’ve spoken about the power of music when it comes to your recovery – and it can also be used to manage workplace anxiety. Music lowers cortisol levels and minimizes stress.
  • Inhale essential oils: Studies shows that essential oils like lavender and chamomile can help ease symptoms of anxiety.
  • Take a walk: Even a 10-minute walk can do wonders when it comes to coping with anxiety in the workplace.
  • Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing from the diaphragm is a proven way to relax and reduce various kinds of anxiety. This is partly because it helps you to avoid the "fight-or-flight" response to stressful situations.
  • Avoid toxic coworkers: Try to surround yourself with positive people and avoid negativity and gossip in the workplace.
  • Be healthy: Pay attention to your eating, sleeping and exercise habits and do your best to keep your mind and body in shape to better handle anxiety in the workplace.
Living Well with Anxiety and Addiction
At Haus Recovery, we invite men and women facing substance abuse and co-occurring disorders to embark on a journey to wellness and wholeness. To learn more about the Haus Recovery difference, call today: 888-551-4715.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Surprising Relapse Triggers

relapse triggers
You likely know by now that relapse is a pretty common part of recovery – but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. No matter what stage of your recovery, it’s crucial to stay aware of all the various (and even subtle) ways your brain and body can be triggered.

It takes a long time for new skills and patterns to take hold – so keep your guard up. This is especially important since, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people often relapse when they feel better and more in control.

Here are a few lesser-known triggers to add to your mental list.
  • Lack of sleep. As you begin to get back into work and get more involved with healthy hobbies, you may mistakenly think that you can skimp on sleep to fit more sober fun into your day. Poor sleep makes it hard to focus, make smart decisions and control your emotions. One study found that when people in recovery were treated for insomnia, they had a lower risk of relapse. 
  • Overconfidence. Self-confidence is a healthy part of recovery – but overconfidence can be a slippery slope into relapse. After some time in recovery, you may think to yourself that you’re “cured” or no longer need to attend support groups or follow your relapse prevention plan – but this is dangerous thinking. It can lead you to put yourself in risky situations or no longer work your recovery program. 
  • Your loved ones. Even loved ones with the best intentions can cause stress in your life, which is why it’s important to examine your relationships at every stage of your recovery. 
  • Recovery plans that have “stopped working.” It’s common to discover that the tools and strategies that worked for you during early recovery might not work as well later in recovery. For some, this could lead to relapse. This is why it’s important to continually tweak your relapse prevention plan and recovery plan. 
  • Happy events. Any change or big event – positive or negative – can cause stress if you’re not careful. What’s more, during a happy celebration you can easily let your guard down. The key is always having a plan in place for stress management and sober fun. 
Post-Treatment Support for Men & Women
At Haus Recovery, we provide our clients with continued support as they transition from a secure recovery environment to sober life filled with daily stress and triggers. To learn more, call today: 888-551-4715.

Monday, January 21, 2019

It's National Hugging Day!

hugging dayRecovery is hard work, so it’s nice to hear now and again that some simple things can help get you through the day, feel better and boost your health and overall recovery. And a hug can do just that – and more.

For one, hugging not only feels great but it’s critical to our physical and emotional survival. For example, babies without the benefits of touch can become depressed and stop eating – it’s called “failure to thrive.”

6 Reasons to Get Your Hug On
In honor of National Hugging Day today, we take a look at a few great reasons to share a hug with a loved one, trusted friend or recovery peer today.

  1. You’ll boost your immunity: Not only can hugging decrease your chances of getting a cold, but you’ll also have fewer symptoms if you do get sick, according to researchers. This is mainly due to the stress-buffering effects of hugging.
  2. You’ll be less stressed: Getting a tight squeeze is a great way to reduce tension. And, according to studies, the effects of hugging last. It will help you calm down before a stressful situation – for example, a job interview or medical test – and it can help you stay cool and collected during the event.
  3. You’ll sleep better: Hugs have been found to increase serotonin, which not only boosts your mood but can be a natural sleep aid.
  4. You’ll feel better about yourself: Hugs help connect us to our ability to self-love. This is because “the associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults,” according to MindBodyGreen.com.
  5. You’ll build trust: Hugs cause a surge of the hormone oxytocin, which leads to feelings of trust and connection, according to NPR.
  6. You’ll improve your relationship: A hug is a simple way to re-affirm your love for someone. It’s a great way to reconnect and give each other the touch you may need.
A Helping Hand at Haus
Even with the recovery skills you’ve gained, you may need help keeping stress at bay, repairing relationships, trusting yourself and others and practicing self-care. One of the advantages of sober living at HAUS is having fellow residents and a wonderful support team to help you stay clean and respect yourself while you transition from treatment to “normal life.” To learn more about our mentoring services, call today: 888-551-4715.